Scaled-Back Prison Bill Done, Water Bill Not
Notes from yet another long session in the Legislature:
The Senate could wait no longer for the Assembly to get their act together, so they passed a reduced prison package along the Assembly's lines, one that falls $200 million short of projections and does not have a sentencing commission. The Governor has announced he'll sign the bill. It's marginally worthwhile for the parole reforms, but really nowhere near what's needed. And so the federal judges will in all likelihood order a mass release, and because little is being done to address root causes, the cost of prisons and the population as a whole are both still likely to increase. The cowards in the Assembly who think they have designs on higher office after this travesty should know that this vote will have importance, but not in the way they think.
The bill to waive CEQA requirements (California Environmental Quality Act) to put a football stadium in Southern California - without an NFL team, mind you - did not get by Darrell Steinberg, despite lots of energy and effort from special interests. He's giving the various parties more time to negotiate a settlement. Sports stadiums are among the biggest corporate welfare projects we have in America.
The much-ballyhooed water deal has been scuttled, as Karen Bass announced she did not have the votes to move it. The Speaker may ask for a special session on water, and the Governor would probably move that as well. The middle-of-the-night rush obviously didn't work, so some transparency would be preferable.
Still waiting on the renewable energy standard bill, which would put California in the vanguard of the nation in terms of its portfolio (33% by 2020).